I have never felt overly compelled to read this book. I had always known what it was about, but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. I’ve seen the movie a couple of times (only when it’s been on t.v.), so maybe that had something to do with not reading it. But as it was only Dymocks reading list, I had to read it. So read it I did. And I actually really liked it!
As I had seen the film adaptation, I knew exactly what was going to happen, so there were no real surprises. But it was still a very entertaining read. For those of you not in the know, Marley & Me by John Grogan is a true account of “life with the world’s worst dog.” Marley is a labrador and is about as badly behaved as any dog can be. He suffers from severe anxiety when thunderstorms hit, causing him to chew walls, rip things to shreds and generally destroy things. He eats whatever takes his fancy – jewellery, plastic army men, bottle tops – and either throws them up shortly after or poos them out at a later date. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. By far my favourite anecdote is when John and the family took Marley for a stroll through a plaza and decided to sit down for lunch. Tying the leash to a table leg, they ordered drinks and began thinking about what to eat. Before they knew it, Marley had taken off in pursuit of a poodle, dragging the heavy table along behind him. Needless to say, lunch was abandoned as John and his wife ran after Marley and the table, which was scraping and screeching down the street, drawing much attention.
While the book is filled with countless numbers of anecdotes about the bad behaviour of this dog, it also touches on the occasional heartbreak that accompanies trying to start a family, and the changes that life brings with a new baby. But most of all, this book is a wonderful story about the friendship between a dog and his owner. While he was naughty, Marley was an incredibly loyal animal and he knew when his family needed him the most. I don’t think that there is any relationship that comes with less baggage than that of a pet and it’s owner. A pet will always be there for you and you can be sure that when you tell them your deepest, darkest secrets, they will not run off and tell the first person they come across.
A word of caution if you have seen the movie and not read the book: the book doesn’t magically have a different end to the film. So don’t read the ending on public transport, like I did. There was lots of tears and a bit of a runny nose and it was just a little embarassing crying on a full train while reading a book. You have been warned.
RATING – 8 out of 10. It dragged on a little at times, but was overall an enjoyable and light read.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – Fans of the movie and anyone that loves animals.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – Marley definitely. He may have been a naughty dog, but he was full of love for his family.